Malbec vs Merlot: What Is the Difference?

malbec vs merlot

Malbec and Merlot are two of the most well-known red wines in the world.

So, do you know the difference between Malbec and Merlot? Both wines are popular, but Malbec  has been growing in popularity in recent years. And many people are unaware that Merlot grapes produce some of the finest wine in the world from Bordeaux.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences and similarities between Malbec and Merlot. And hopefully find out what’s right for you between Malbec and Merlot wines!

Table of Contents

What is Malbec?

Malbec grapes Wine Regions

Malbec is a type of red wine that originated from Cahors, located in the southwest of France. The Malbec grape was brought to Argentina in the 19th century, where it thrived in the warm climate and became the country’s signature wine.

Malbec wine is known for its deep purple color and intense flavors of blackberry, plum, and spice. It is typically full-bodied with medium tannins and pairs well with grilled meats.

Argentinian Malbec wines are some of the most popular examples of the style, but wines from Cahors in France are also highly sought-after. However, their taste profiles are polar opposites: Argentine Malbecs will be fruitier, while French Malbecs will be more tannic and earthy.

As consumer demand for Malbec continues to grow, more and more wineries are producing this delicious varietal. 

French Malbec taste Flavors

What is Merlot?

merlot descriptions medium bodied red wines

Merlot is a type of red wine that originated in the Bordeaux region of France.

Merlot wines are typically medium-bodied with soft tannins and flavors of plum, black cherry, and chocolate. Because of its easy drinking style, Merlot wine has become one of the most popular red wines in the world.

While it can be enjoyed on its own, Merlot also pairs well with a variety of dishes, making it an ideal choice for both casual and formal occasions.

Some of the most celebrated Merlots come from Bordeaux, but the Merlot grape variety is also planted in other regions like California, Washington State, Chile, and Australia.

Similar to Malbec wine, French Merlot will be more earthy and tannic than the fruit-forward and soft California medium bodied Merlot.

So whether you’re new to red wine or a longtime connoisseur, Merlot is sure to please. 

Malbec vs Merlot

malbec vs merlot comparison

Differences Between Malbec and Merlot

  • Malbec typically has higher tannins than Merlot.
  • Malbec is a deep purple colored wine, while Merlot is more of a deep ruby colored wine.
  • Malbec will generally be more full bodied than Merlot
  • Malbec will have a longer finish, while Merlot will have a smoother finish.

Similarities Between Malbec and Merlot

  • Both are Bordeaux Right Bank grape varieties.
  • Both are commonly used blending grapes for Bordeaux wines.
  • Both can be Medium to Full-bodied
  • Both French versions of the grape will be more earthier and more tannic than their New World counterparts
  • Similar dark fruit flavors

What is better Merlot or Malbec?

cabernet sauvignon single varietal malbec wines

This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on your personal preferences. 

If you like full-bodied wines with high tannins and intense flavors, then a French Malbec would be a better choice for you. However, if you prefer medium-bodied wines with softer tannins and more approachable flavors, then a California Merlot would be a better choice.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you like to drink! 

Remember, however, that the taste of each varietal varies greatly depending on where it’s from. Each of these varietal wines has two distinct flavors. So for example, New World Malbec wines will taste different from the Old World Malbec wines. And that’s the same with Merlot.


Is Merlot more dry than Malbec?

Sometimes but it depends on the wine. When compared to each other, some Malbec wines can be quite dry, while some Merlot wines can be quite fruity. And vice versa. Depends on where the wine is produced.

Is Malbec dry or sweet?

Malbecs are considered dry red wine. And they are not sweet, however some may be perceived as sweet with their ripe fruit flavors. 

Is Malbec a good wine?

argentina malbec

Yes, Malbec is a good red wine. It is typically full-bodied with medium tannins and pairs well with grilled meats.

Check out our Best of Lists for both Merlot and Malbec wine!


In conclusion, both Malbec and Merlot are delicious red wines that offer something unique to the palate. Malbecs tend to be full-bodied with medium tannins and intense flavors, while Merlots are typically more approachable with softer tannins and fruit-forward flavors.

Related Articles

More Posts

best lunch in napa

12 Best Lunch Spots In Napa

Best Lunch In Napa – Our 12 Favorite Spots! Lunch is a must when you’re out wine tasting! Whether you’re in the mood for a

Böen Pinot Noir

Böen Pinot Noir – WineO Mark Review

Böen Pinot Noir – WineO Mark Review Wine Stats Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir Vintage: 2021 ABV: 14.6% Wine Region: California Flavor Profile: Cherry, raspberry, blackberry,